Bishop Conaty House

Known As
144 Adelaide Drive
Santa Monica, CA 90402

This home was built as a retreat for the Reverend Bishop Thomas Conaty of Los Angeles and San Diego, and is one of the earliest on Adelaide Drive. The site was donated to the church by Judge Juan Carrillo, the first Mayor of Santa Monica and father of celebrity Leo Carrillo. Subsequent owners include Dr. Rufus B. Von Kleinschmidt, USC Chancellor, and Mary Miles Minter, a Hollywood starlet who became embroiled in a notorious murder scandal. Her romantic association with director Desmond Taylor, who was murdered in 1922, cut short her promising career. She lived here for several decades from 1953 until her death in 1984.

The house was purchased by new owners in 1986 and was in ruinous condition. They did extensive restoration, stripping paint from the walls, removing invasive vines covering the exterior, and refurbishing the infrastructure. They did some interior remodeling, expanded some living space, and added the garage and driveway. The original brick chimney and fireplace was remodeled using boulders, and the original brick re-used in the garden wall. The current owners acquired the house in 1997, and have made some interior improvements. Fortunately, the recent owners have treated the historic home with great respect, preserving its original character while providing for added comfort and utility.

The house is Craftsman in style, influenced by English Arts and Crafts. The first story is stucco, the second is wood, slightly projecting over the lower one. The rectangular mass has a side-gable roof and is nearly symmetrical, with a projecting entry portico. The multi-paned casement windows are grouped in bands. The west side has a bay window facing the view. The interior hallway is completely wood paneled with Douglas fir. The dining room has an original fireplace, built-in cabinets, and a large bay window overlooking the beautifully landscaped back yard. Looking back at the house from the yard, one can see Bishop Conaty’s office in the center of the second floor, with colored glass windows designed as crosses.

A second structure was added at the rear of the yard in 1925, with a spacious hall and beamed ceiling. In the 1950s, a charming knotty-pine kitchen was added, as well as a tiled bathroom with some unique features.


  1. Santa Monica Conservancy. “144 Adelaide Dr. Brochure.”
  2. Santa Monica Historic Resources Inventory